Accreditation

2nd Departmental Re-Accreditation

The Swansea Police Department is due for an assessment for its 3rd re-accreditation by the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission (MPAC). As part of the requirement for notice to the community, I respectfully request a posting of this upcoming event in the Spectator.

This assessment is for the department’s fifth award.

The first award was for State Certification on March 6, 2008 (34th overall in the state).

The second award was 1st Accreditation on January 28, 2010 (31st overall in the State).

The third Award was 1st Re-Accreditation on May 2, 2013 (44th overall in the State).

The fourth Award was the 2nd Re-Accreditation on May 5, 2016

September 6, 2018, there are 216 police departments and universities participating in the MPAC program. 78 departments are accredited. Swansea is one of these 78.

In order for our Department to be recognized as a Re-Accredited Agency, the Swansea Police Department has requested an on-site assessment by the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission.

The accreditation assessment is a process of verification by an assessment team that our department meets the Commission’s standards.  This is part of a voluntary process to gain state Accreditation -- a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence. 

To that end, I am pleased to announce that a team of assessors (identified below) is scheduled to arrive on October 16, 2018 to begin the three-day assessment.  As you can see, the team is comprised of three local law enforcement officials, all of whom have been especially trained by the Commission to conduct the assessment. The assessment team is comprised of:

Facilitating the Assessment:

 Lt. Michael Hill, Ret. (Framingham Police Department)

Assessors:

  1. Deputy Chief James Storey (Dartmouth Police Department)
  2. Sergeant Scott Rose (Freetown Police Department)
  3. Sergeant Thomas LaGrasta (Bridgewater Police Department

 

During this on-site assessment, The Swansea Police Department must be able to demonstrate to the assessors that we are in compliance with the Commission’s mandatory standards, as well as a required percentage of the optional standards for our size agency.  While here, the assessors will be examining our policies, reports, facilities and equipment.           

As part of the assessment process, please be advised that you, the public, are invited to offer comments to the Commission about the Department as they pertain to accreditation standards.  You may send written comments to the Commission at the following address: Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission, 110 Haverhill Road – Suite 395 – Amesbury, MA 01913. 

The assessment will conclude on October 18 with a briefing between the department’s command staff and the Assessors.    

As we look forward to a successful review, the Swansea Police Chief, George Arruda, would like to take this opportunity to thank Accreditation Mangers Lt. Marc Haslam and Lt. Joseph Martin, as well as every other supervisor, detective, officer, dispatcher, reserve officer, and Administrative Assistant Melissa Reis who participated in this important endeavor and helped us reach this milestone in the process.

For Background information:

ACCREDITATION

Accreditation is a self-initiated evaluation process by which police departments strive to meet and maintain standards that have been established for the profession, by the profession. These carefully selected standards reflect critical areas of police management, operations, and technical support activities. They cover areas such as policy development, emergency response planning, training, communications, property and evidence handling, use of force, vehicular pursuit, prisoner transportation and holding facilities. The program not only sets standards for the law enforcement profession, but also for the delivery of police services to citizens of the commonwealth.

“Achieving Accreditation from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission is considered a very significant accomplishment, and is a recognition that is highly regarded by the law enforcement community,” said Donna Taylor Mooers, the Commission’s Executive Director.  

The Commission offers two program awards: Certification and Accreditation, with Accreditation being the higher of the two.  Accreditation has been granted for a period of three years.  Participation in the program is strictly voluntary.

COMPOSITION OF THE COMMISSION

The Commission consists of an eleven member Board of Directors.  Six members are appointed by the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, two by the Coalition of Accreditation Managers of Massachusetts, one by the Massachusetts Municipal Association and one by the Massachusetts Police Association.  The eleventh member is left for the Board to elect; that member must be affiliated with an academic institution.  According to Mooers, “the Commission’s primary role is to establish and administer both the standards and the assessment process by which departments meeting accreditation standards can be publicly recognized for their achievements.”

Massachusetts is one of twenty-four states that offer an accreditation process for its police departments.

BENEFITS OF ACCREDITATION

The standards for accreditation impact officer and public safety, address high liability/risk management issues, and generally promote operational efficiency throughout the agency.  The benefits are therefore many and will vary among participating departments based on the state of the department when it enters the process.  In other words, the benefits will be better known when the department quantifies the changes that it made as a direct result of achieving accreditation. Generally, these changes involve policy writing, facility improvements and equipment purchases. Listed below are some of the more common benefits.

Accreditation is important because it:

·       provides a norm for an agency to judge its performance.

·       provides a basis to correct deficiencies before they become public      problems.

·       requires agencies to commit policies and procedures to writing.

·       promotes accountability among agency personnel and the evenhanded application of policies.

·       provides a means of independent evaluation of agency operations.

·       minimizes an agency’s exposure to liability, builds a stronger defense against lawsuits, and has the potential to reduce liability insurance costs.

·       enhances the reputation of the agency and increases the public’s confidence in it.

Donna Taylor Mooers added, “Police Certification and Accreditation serve to reassure the general public that the law enforcement profession is trained, prepared and ready to handle routine calls for service including large scale emergencies. Agency preparedness begins with having a current written directive system that incorporates best business practices into agency policies and operational plans.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Marc R. Haslam

Lieutenant

Swansea Police Department